MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( Associated Press) — A federal judge on Friday blocked part of an Alabama law that made it a crime to prescribe puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones to transgender minors.
District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the drug ban, which took effect May 8, pending a court challenge. The magistrate maintained another part of the regulation that prohibits gender affirmation operations on minors, something that, according to the doctors, is not carried out in Alabama at that age. In addition, he left a provision that requires counselors and school authorities to inform parents if a minor reveals that he believes he is trans.
The state’s Compassion and Protection for Vulnerable Children law makes it punishable by up to 10 years in prison for prescribing or administering this medication to minors to help them assert their new gender identity.
Burke found that Alabama has not presented any credible evidence showing that the transition drugs are “experimental,” while “the uncontested evidence in the record shows that at least 22 of the major medical associations in the United States endorse transition drugs. as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in children.
“The statute’s prohibition upholds and reaffirms the ‘enduring American tradition’ that parents, not states or federal courts, play the primary role in the upbringing and care of their children,” the magistrate said in his ruling.
The legislation was part of a wave of initiatives from states controlled by the Republican Party on trans minors, but it was the first to contemplate prison sentences for doctors who provided these drugs. In Arkansas, a judge blocked a similar regulation before it went into effect. The Department of Justice and four families with trans children appealed the law considering it discriminatory, a violation of the constitutional rights of equal protection and freedom of expression and an interference in the medical decisions of the families.
“This is a huge relief for transgender children and their families,” pediatrician Morissa Ladinsky, who founded a Birmingham medical team that cares for children with gender dysphoria, said late on Friday.
“The court decision recognizes that this is established care that has been endorsed by 22 major medical associations. This decision will ensure that trans minors in Alabama, and elsewhere, can continue to receive this recognized, evidence-based, life-saving care.”
Representatives for the governor, Kay Ivey, and state Attorney General Steve Marshall were not immediately available for comment Friday night.